Echoing Sand Mountain: Situated five kilometers south of Dunhuang City, the Echoing-Sand Mountain is celebrated for the sound of the moving sand. In 1994 it is listed as the national key scenic spot. The Echoing-Sand Mountain, the Crescent Spring and the Mogao Grottoes art landscape merges into a whole which has become a popular tourist attraction all around the world.
It is 800 square kilometers in size, stretching 40 kilometers from east to west and 20 kilometers from south to the north. The main peak is 1,715 meters above sea level. Its ridges and peaks are known to be as sharp as a knife.
There is a legend that says that, in ancient times, a general with many soldiers came here to fight in a war with their enemies. While they were engaged in a fierce battle, a great gust of wind buried all the warriors in the sand and the sand mountain was formed.
As the battle was at its height, the soldiers continued to fight beneath the sand. Thus, the sound head is said to be the roar of the soldiers. However, the real cause is the friction and static created as the wind shifts the sand or you slip down the mountainside.
Echoing-Sand Mountain, which means "singing sand mountain," though it is not really a mountain, but a giant sand dune.The sand of the mountain has many colors ranging from red to yellow, green, black and white. When a strong wind blows, the fast shifting sand roars.
When a light breeze comes, the sand creates gentle, beautiful sounds akin to music. It is the same when tourists are sliding down the mountainside. At first, the sand just whispers; but the sound gradually become louder until it reaches a crescendo like thunder or a drum beat. Some say that the sand is singing, while to others it is like an echo and this is how the mountain gets its name.
5 kilometers (about 3 miles) from the southern suburb of Dunhuang City, Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Mountain) begins at the cliff top of Mogao Caves in the east and ends at the Danghe Reservoir in the west, stretching for 40 kilometers (about 25 miles). It is 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) wide from north to south with a height of tens of meters.
It is called 'Echoing-Sand Mountain' because the sand mountain produces loud sounds when there is a gale and slight sounds when there is only a breeze. Since ancient times, stories have been circulating about the echoing sand. The most popular one has it that a general from the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD) led his army out to subdue the western regions and was attacked by the enemy while passing through the area.